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Meatball Seance review at Bar Bados, Edinburgh – ‘a big heart behind its absurdist sensibility’

John Michael in Meatball Seance
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John Michael is on a roll. Not only has he got a new boyfriend, but it’s the first time he’s ever had a boyfriend hotter than he is. If only his mother was still around to approve of the match. She may have passed away last year, but Michael is constantly thinking about the times they spent together, especially in the kitchen. Finally he decides to summon up the spirit of his late mother by preparing her famous meatball recipe for his new beau.

This is an oddly cathartic, immersive comedy that tackles issues of grief and friendship. Dallas-born Michael is a queer clown of sorts, zipping around in designer underwear and his mother’s frilly apron. He philosophises on the nature of sex and relationships but underneath the humour is a genuine sense of loss. Boyfriends come and go but without his mother’s approval, he’s not sure he can move on.

Throughout the piece, Michael invites members of the audience to help him fashion the meatballs but sadly, the fire-marshal will not allow him to cook them. Michael gamely incorporates this shortcoming into a script that’s brimming with goodwill. This show may be technically challenged, but there’s a big heart behind its absurdist sensibility.

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Sweet and savoury immersive queer comedy